Players union Fifpro says it is helping Nigeria’s Women’s World Cup squad in “a disagreement with the Nigeria Football Federation” over unpaid bonuses, allowances and expenses – some which it claims date back to 2021.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Fifpro said: “During the World Cup, the players expressed the desire to remain focused on their performance without making public statements or facing other distractions.
“However, the Super Falcons believe that it is now time for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to honour their commitments and pay the outstanding amounts”.
A long-running dispute
The Super Falcons are Africa’s most successful international women’s side, having won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) nine times and also qualified for all nine Women’s World Cups.
Yet this is far from the first time they have found themselves at loggerheads with their federation over money, with disputes dating back to 2004.
More recently, at the 2019 World Cup in France, they staged a sit-in protest following a second-round defeat to Germany, while players boycotted training before the nation’s third-place play-off at last year’s Wafcon in Morocco.
At the time, a special adviser to then-minister of sports Sunday Dare said the “issues are being resolved” and verbal assurances were given to the squad.
But a month later, BBC Sport Africa was told players were still waiting.
Before this World Cup, American coach Randy Waldrum claimed he was owed seven months’ salary and some of his players had not been paid for two years.
Fifpro said it was “extremely frustrating” the issue had continued before, during and after the tournament, adding that it was “regrettable that players needed to challenge their own federation at such an important time in their careers.”
‘Players will receive their money’
This year, for the first time at a Women’s World Cup, players are receiving individual payments direct from organisers Fifa.
Nigeria’s women will each receive $60,000 for reaching the second round, as well as being entitled to a $100 daily allowance.
The direct payments have caused disagreements between several teams and their national administrations, including England’s Lionesses, with some federations saying the Fifa money effectively counts as a performance-related bonus.
Reacting to the Fifpro statement, a top NFF official played down the row, insisting payment arrangements were put in place long before the defeat against England.
“Everything agreed with the Super Falcons [for the World Cup] is on paper and will be respected,” he told BBC Sport Africa.
“Any outstanding payments owed to the players will definitely be looked into by the federation.
“Fifa is expected to reach out to the NFF and other federations about the World Cup payments and the players will receive their money as agreed.
“This team left a huge mark at the tournament against the European champions and it is unfair to dampen it with any form of negativity.”
Whether this latest financial dispute can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion remains to be seen, but Fifpro says it will continue to work to ensure “contractual rights are honoured and outstanding payments settled”.